Archive for the ‘What Works’ Category

Research in the ranks

June 25, 2018

This article reports the recent conference of the American Society of Evidence-Based Policing, which mainly featured current police officers presenting results from their own research. The organization, just a few years old, mirrors similar ones in the UK, Canada, Australia/New Zealand plus initial efforts in India and Mexico. The emphasis is on learning and applying what works, rather than simply relying on “what we’ve always done” or copying the latest popular idea from a neighboring agency.


Podcast on ALPR effectiveness

June 9, 2018

Here’s a 13-minute podcast describing the Vallejo PD’s use of scientific methods to test the effectiveness of automated license plate readers (ALPRs). The presenter, Jason Potts, is a lieutenant with the police department, one of the founders of the American Society of Evidence Based Policing (ASEBP), and a National Institute of Justice LEADS Scholar.

Traffic cameras

May 10, 2018

This article reports efforts by state legislators in Iowa and Ohio to ban the use of automated traffic enforcement based on the claim that local governments are merely trying to raise revenue. Such claims conveniently ignore the evidence that speed cameras and red light cameras improve driver behavior, reduce crashes, and save lives.

Police-led restorative justice

April 2, 2018

This blog post summarizes a 2-year study in 3 UK jurisdictions of police involvement in restorative justice, including street-level police activity and referrals to service partners. Research found that training and having an agency “champion” were significant, and “it is important for restorative justice to be rooted in mainstream police practice.” The study concluded “it is clear … that restorative justice benefits both victims of crime … and offenders … and the police organisation more generally.” Links are provided to several reports, including a synopsis of prior research in Belgium and Northern Ireland.

Focused deterrence POP Guide

March 21, 2018

The focused deterrence or “pulling levers” approach to crime reduction has gained popularity over the last 20 years and has been utilized in many jurisdictions. A new POP Guide, available here, summarizes 21 evaluations of the strategy, explains its underlying rationale, and outlines key elements and phases involved in its implementation. The guide emphasizes the importance of starting with careful problem analysis, since “Even if research knowledge suggests that a particular response has proved effective elsewhere, that does not mean the response will be effective everywhere. Local factors matter a lot in choosing which responses to use.”

Will Cincinnati refresh?

March 19, 2018

Cincinnati has gotten widespread recognition for its Collaborative Agreement, initiated under a consent decree in 2002 following use-of-force incidents and civil unrest. A “refresh” is currently being planned based on evidence that the police have drifted away from emphasizing problem-oriented policing toward more focus on “core business demands.” A serious rift between the chief and an assistant chief has led to major conflict between the mayor and city manager, arousing strong feelings in the community, according to this article. The former federal monitor says the department is making “the false choice between effective and fair policing.”

Lighting reduces crime in NYC public housing

March 4, 2018

This article summarizes an experiment in 2016 testing the impact of enhanced outdoor lighting on crime in 39 public housing sites in New York City. Index crimes declined 7% overall, with a 39% reduction in outdoor crimes at night, over the 6-month study period. Benefits were estimated to exceed costs after 6 years and by 3 1/2 times after 20 years. The full research report is available here.

Evidence-based policing conference May 21-22 in Philadelphia

January 14, 2018

The American Society of Evidence-Based Policing (ASEBP) will hold its 2018 conference May 21-22 in Philadelphia. Information about the conference is available here.

Evaluation of gun crime measures in Baltimore

January 13, 2018

This article reports a study of gun crime initiatives implemented in Baltimore since 2003. The most effective at reducing shootings was a plainclothes unit targeting hot spots and known offenders, but that same unit generated excess complaints and lawsuits and was subsequently disbanded. The study’s author suggests re-instituting the strategy with stricter supervision and controls. Other measures, including drug arrests, Ceasefire call-ins, and street interrupters had smaller or inconsistent effects.

Canada study of SROs finds benefits

January 12, 2018

A 2-year study of police assigned to 66 high schools in Peel Region, Canada documented benefits for students and staff, according to this article. Positive effects of the School Resource Officers included “reducing crime and bullying while providing extensive social and economic benefits estimated at 11 times the cost, especially for students who feel safer and less stressed, miss less school, are better able to learn and are mentally healthier.”